Thai, Greek, Indian, Mexican … Nashville has so many great restaurants for sampling flavors from around the world. For those who are adventurous enough to perhaps try preparing international cuisine rather than ordering it, finding the right ingredients is key. Sometimes the items are tricky to find, so to combat this dilemma, we’ve put together a list of Nashville’s international food markets, highlighting their best sellers and funkiest items.
900 Rosa L Parks Blvd. in the Nashville Farmers’ Market • (615) 254-1697
Hours: Seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Inside the downtown Farmers’ Market food court is the quaint International Market. This small shop offers bulk spices and grains, as well as cookies and crackers from around the world. We noticed its wide variety of teas and international beverages, which offer a perfect way to slip into a foreign mindset without all of the dishes. The market’s frozen versions of your favorite international treats make it easy to mix up your meal schedule without the takeout lines!
4043 Nolensville Pike • (615) 833-1555
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Patel Brothers grocery store is a full-size market, bustling with workers shelving goods just as quickly as customers place them in their baskets. The Indian grocery store specializes in the general cuisine of the country, with no specific regional influence. Its produce and canned items are especially popular. While the mangoes and peppers caught our eye, the dill, mustard greens and cilantro were also incredibly fragrant and fresh. From Thursday to Sunday, the store is very busy, with lines forming all the way down the aisles. If you’ve got some time and are interested in absorbing the entire scene, complete with the feel, smell and noise of an actual Indian market, we recommend going then!
3808 Nolensville Pike in the Elysian Plaza Shopping Center • (615) 333-0028
Hours: Seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In the shopping center at the corner of Nolensville Pike and Elysian Fields Court is the Apna Bazaar, another Indian grocery store. Beautiful produce, including items familiar to American cuisine, as well as foreign fruits and vegetables, lines one wall, while the rest of the aisles are filled with dried beans and fruits, frozen dinners, and Indian chips and cookies. The store has a wide selection of rices and spices, making it a perfect stop to grab ingredients for your next homemade Indian meal.
InterAsian Market & Deli
2160 Nolensville Pike • (615) 742-3268
Hours: Sunday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Carrying primarily Southeast Asian (Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese, etc.) foods, InterAsian Market & Deli has both grocery and deli components. When asked what produce he particularly recommends, Somboon Wu, the adult son of the store’s owner, says the market just received a shipment of passion fruit, the likes of which he hasn’t seen in more than five years. He also explains that some people will come to the store just to buy basil and cilantro. As far as the store’s Banh Mi goes, it’s as good as you’ve probably heard. And if you haven’t heard, well now you have … go try some today! The deli sandwich is an interesting combination of flavors that mesh in an unexpectedly incredible manner. White bread with a strong crust and soft interior, liver paté, mayonnaise, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro and more harmonize across your taste buds, making you wish that there was more than two halves to this delicious sandwich. On weekends, there are also prepared foods for sale, like homemade spring rolls and roasted pork. Next time you have a takeout craving, put the phone down and head to InterAsian Market for your international food fix!
Mercado La Hacienda Panaderia y Carniceria
2617 Nolensville Pike • (615) 256-5066
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The bright blue Mercado is located next to the equally colorful La Hacienda Taqueria. Upon entering the shop, the most prominent feature is the extensive bread selection. Dripping in colored sugars and twisted in interesting shapes, these baked beauties sit nestled behind glass doors (which is fortunate considering the drool-worthy nature of some of them). I finally stopped gawking and was able to ask what the most popular items were (though I had a good guess). The cashier smiled and pointed to a little girl who had walked in behind me and had pressed her face against the glass doors of the bread rack. My assumption had been correct. The cashier also said that the produce, especially the cilantro, was top notch and that they had a variety of good seasonings for adding Mexican zing to more simple dishes.
718 Thompson Lane • (615) 383-0071
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
This small store exudes charm and is filled with Russian and Ukrainian treats. The candies and sweets are their best-selling items, though the dense, pretzel-like breads are also very popular. Staff members, however, cited the perogies as their favorite item in the store. These dumpling-style dough balls are stuffed with various fillings, both sweet and savory. At Aleksey’s, they come frozen and require only a quick 20 minutes in boiling water before they’re ready to eat. Pick some up to go with dinner the next time you’re in Berry Hill!
International Market & Restaurant
2010 Belmont Blvd. • (615) 297-4453
Hours: Seven days a week, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
This small Thai restaurant and grocery embraces you with sweet and savory smells as soon as you walk in the door. They have all types of seasonings to spice up your favorite chicken or noodle recipe. Bulk style rice and noodles are available, providing a perfect base for all the different sauces, both dried and canned, available throughout the store. We recommend walking in hungry and picking up a snack from their buffet-style restaurant in the back after perusing the aisles!
K&S World Market (Charlotte Pike)
5861 Charlotte Pike • (615) 356-8771
Hours: Seven days a week, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
K&S World Market looks like a regular grocery store, but the labels certainly aren’t your standard Ritz, Coca-Cola, or DiGiorno. Giant bags of every kind of rice line the walkway when you enter the store. Beans, peppers, noodles, fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes you could ever imagine fill the produce section. And along the back wall, fish and crustaceans swim, blissfully unaware that they will soon be bought up for dinner. This is the place to be to suit international cooking needs of any type, though the shop owners told us that the Mexican and Chinese sections are especially popular. A second K&S World Market is located at 4225 Nolensville Pike in South Nashville. Hours are the same at both locations.
With so many great international grocery stores around town, making a meal beyond the staple of grilled chicken and vegetables seems far less daunting and entirely doable. We will certainly be making our way around town to pick up fresh and exciting international ingredients for some memorable meals ahead.